On July 10, the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced 10 Solar Prize Round 3 finalist teams. These teams were chosen for the considerable progress they’ve made since winning the Ready! Contest.
Twenty semifinalist teams participated in a virtual Round 3 Set! Demo Day on Thursday, July 10. Prior to Set! Demo Day, teams submitted 4-minute video pitches, which were reviewed by a panel of industry experts and posted online for public view. During Set! Demo Day, each team had a 10-minute question-and-answer session with the panel of reviewers to further discuss their pitches and describe their innovations.
After careful deliberation, the reviewers selected 10 finalist teams, each of whom won $100,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers.
The Round 3 finalist teams are:
- Team Enertronics: This team is developing a high-voltage, direct current (DC) power optimizer small enough to be built into a module's junction box.
- Team infiniRel: This team developed a patented hardware/software system that monitors solar inverters while they’re operating to detect component deterioration as well as software control issues.
- Team Maxout Renewables: This team developed a cost-effective system that turns a residential solar installation into a microgrid that can keep power on during a grid outage.
- Team Pursuit Solar: This team’s passive solar tracker enables panels to capture more solar energy without motors, controls, or external power. A small concentrating mirror system heats paraffin wax, which rotates the panels to track the sun when they’re properly positioned.
- Team Renu Robotics: This team is developing an autonomous electric lawnmower for utility-scale solar power plants that can maintain hundreds of acres a month without human interaction.
- Team Shine Technologies: This team is developing a small, lightweight, low-cost PV system with battery storage that can be stockpiled and deployed for emergency disaster relief.
- Team TrackerSled: This team is developing a movable single-axis tracker solar array for farms that can be towed around rotating crop fields on its pontoon skis. The array’s mobility will help farmers rotate their cash crop and cover crop fields, improving soil health, income, and power generation.
- Team Uplift Solar: This team is developing a chip that is both a direct-current converter and an MPPT that can be embedded in a module. It will have a microprocessor that enables power line communication, ensuring module compliance with code updates.
- Team Verify Energy: This team is developing a self-powered, easily installable, cellular data gateway to extract PV plant performance data from commercial and industrial scale PV plants.
- Team Wattch: This team combines cost-effective hardware with secure, scalable software to deliver insights and increase operational efficiency for commercial and industrial PV plants. This will result in predictive maintenance schedules that lower downtime, improve remote and automated diagnostics, and better model a plant’s lifetime energy yield.
See Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, announce the finalist teams:
These 10 finalists will go on to compete in the final stage of the competition, the Go! Contest. Finalists will present their technologies one last time at Go! Demo Day in December 2020. Ultimately, only two final winners will be selected, each winning $500,000 in cash prizes and $75,000 in support vouchers to help them bring their technology to market.
Stay tuned to see who becomes the Round 3 final winners!